REDEFINING ECONOMICS

ECONOMY SHOULD NOT BE JUST ABOUT MONEY

In June 6, 2014, Canadian Prime Minister stood before the media defiantly declared that he would never risk Canadian economy and jobs for the sake of environment.  He had his soul mate Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his side to stand up against Barak Obama’s bold move to curb the carbon emission.  Meanwhile, on June 10 in the Lethbridge Herald, there was a glossy special insert, which was all about business in Lethbridge.   And I said to myself: There is something missing in the notion of economics from what I think it should be part of.

I thought economy meant more than capital, finance, productivity, profit, and the like.  In my “ECONOMICS 101” class sixty some years ago, I heard that the word economy came from a Greek word “OIKONOMIA ”  and that it meant the management of  a home (OIKOS).  I don’t like the way people defined the word OIKONOMIA into something too narrow and yet too complicated.  They say, economy is bigger than a household.  It’s about “macro economics”: It’s about a city, or a country, or even the world.  And it’s all about money.   I don’t buy that.  What about welfare of people?

Economy, to me, should also be about fairness and other warm and fuzzy stuff like happiness and compassion.    Without those qualities I will not be a sucess in the management of my family household.  I hope that such a notion of economy is applied on the macro level as well.  Warm and fuzziness should extend to towns and cities and countries not just my home.  If you apply a narrowly defined meaning of economy, you can call China most successful.   But where is freedom?

Of course, it’s about money too.  You need money to have basics to be sure.  Without money you suffer humiliation and indignity.  But on the other hand, when the CEO on the top is compensated three hundred times more than what an average worker of the same company, and it is considered to be normal, there is something wrong with this notion of economy.   Where is fairness?  If it is about maintaining that kind of system, I don’t want to be any part of it.  We need oil; we need gas to run my car; yes, we need money for sure.  But that should not be the bottom line of the story of economy.

 

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